The time right after a car accident is stressful and can even be downright traumatic in some situations. The goal of this article is to help guide you through this confusing and time-consuming process by giving you a non-exhaustive checklist of some things to keep in mind while you move forward with your claim.
- Call the police. A police report is very important later down the road. This is true even if the accident seems minor. In fact, it is actually against the law to fail to report an accident when damages are more than $700.
- Get the other driver’s insurance and contact information.
- Go to your doctor if you are hurt.
- If you have health insurance, use that health insurance first instead of relying on the negligent driver’s insurance. Your own insurance company is legally obligated to provide you with optimum care that is in your best interest whereas the other driver’s insurance company is not.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Contact the other driver’s insurance company but do not sign any statements
- If the insurance company provides you with a check, do not cash the check unless you agree with the amount. Cashing this check basically contractually binds you to that settlement amount.
- Keep track of everything and write everything down.
- Do not be afraid to negotiate with the insurance adjuster if the amount of money the adjuster is offering seems too low.
- Contact a personal injury attorney if you feel like the insurance adjuster is not treating you fairly. Many personal injury attorneys will be happy to talk with you about your auto accident claim and/or injuries caused by the accident free of charge. And if you decide to hire the attorney most personal injury attorneys will not charge a fee upfront. Instead, the attorney will charge what is called a “contingency fee.” A contingency fee is an agreement where the attorney collects a percentage of the money he or she recovers for you. Thus, the client is able to hire an attorney without paying money up front.
Good luck and remember: If you are injured by the negligence of another, you have legal rights. Don’t let an insurance adjuster convince you otherwise.